Cincinnati | Federer and Djokovic final
The final most people wanted to see has been realised with two of the biggest rivals in the sport meeting for the 46th time in their careers with both aiming to make history at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Roger Federer, a seven-time champion at the event, will be bidding to increase his tournament-leading total, while Novak Djokovic will be aiming to become the first player to win all nine Master 1000 tournaments and establish the first Golden Masters Slam.
This match was erratic at the start with hardly any rallies. But it got better towards the end, I'm glad my serve has worked well all week Roger Federer
And he has had plenty of opportunities to do that having visited the final on five previous occasions, all unsuccessful with one at the hands of Federer himself.
The second-seeded Federer should have the edge having reached the final without dropping a set and clearing his semi-final against David Goffin in just 62-minutes when the Belgian retired with a shoulder problem with the score standing at 7-6(3) 1-1.
In contrast, Djokovic has been kept on the court much longer having been forced into three-set matches in four of his five matches, including his semi-final when Marin Cilic kept him on court for two-and-a-half-hours before conceding 6-4 3-6 6-3.
For Federer, his quick win was a positive. “I’m gonna recover for tomorrow. This match was erratic at the start with hardly any rallies. But it got better towards the end, I’m glad my serve has worked well all week.
“I’m happy today was fairly easy.”
Reflecting on his opponent, he said: “I realised that he was not serving very big, but it was only after he was treated that I knew something might be wrong.
“I could see that he was unhappy, but I thought he was going to play on.
“That’s not how I wanted to win, but I’ll take it,” he added. “I’ve now got a difficult final against a tough opponent.”
Earlier in the day, Djokovic had booked his place in the final. He had quickly jumped into a 2-1 lead in the first set and never dropped his serve as he took the opener.
Cilic produced a more competitive second set, breaking the number 10 seed on his first serve and then again to run into a 5-1 lead, serving out to love to level the match.
However, Djokovic secured the win on his second match point after breaking the Croat in the eighth game of the decider to serve it out.
Speaking after his victory, the Serbian – who leads his rival 23-22 in wins – admitted that making history was a major motivating factor.
“I mean, it’s a final for me and the sixth time that I’ll try to win the title.
“Obviously this time I’m hoping that I can get my hands on the trophy. I will give my best. History is also on the line and I’m aware of that and that motivates me even more.”
He added: “It’s tough, it’s been a difficult week with rain delays and all that was happening. I’ve been down in my last three matches but I’ve come back.”